Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dear Jane on the Kitchen Floor

the top pic is A-1 on the bottom left corner, 1-8, the bottom pic is the right hand half of the blocks.
Below... all my finished "Dear Jane" blocks laid out on the kitchen floor.
At the top left is A-1, with the rows going across 1-13. Some blocks are missing, because they need applique, or they were just too complicated, and I will try them later, when I can really concentrate on each individual block.

My friend Sue came to visit from California, she has been working on the "Dear Jane" blocks too, so we had a chat and show and tell. We went thru my vintage fabric stash and I shared some with her. Her Jane quilt uses older reproductions from the civil war era, and I had some "Smithsonian" repro fabric that I gave her, and some of my vintage stuff for a tumbler pattern she is making with vintage fabrics. Since I had my vintage stuff out, I decided to go ahead and make some more blocks. I drafted about a half dozen more patterns, and started to select fabrics and cut them out. Quiet a few are applique, and needed some piecing first, to have a base for the applique. They ended up in a stack to be a "take along" project, to be finished whenever. I pieced about 8 more blocks, some easy, some not so much. Considering their 4 1/2" size, they are a lot more complicated and detailed then I thought they'd be. But I did not skip any of the tricky ones, I preserved and did them all! I am over half way done!! yeah!! But then I realized I still had 70 more blocks to do! Yikes! All the work I have done and I still have lots more pages in the book. I do love going through my vintage fabric, selecting just the right pieces, and hoping I have enough of a scrap to do the block with. I have come up short several times and had to piece the fabric together, to get a piece big enough to cut out. But this is ok, 'cause they did that back in the "olden days" too. I can see in the photographs where Jane had to piece a scrap together, to make the pattern piece. I also made a couple of blocks with more than one print and one solid. Two matching, close enough prints, make a good block, but I try not to do this unless I have too, or a piece is too good to pass up, and I just don't have enough of it.

Fabric Dyeing Workshop 2011 part II

Dyed cotton yarn, "Sugar and Spice" made into 3 and 5 yard skeins, soaked in soda ash, and drizzled with dye concentrate. Also a large ball of cotton yarn, with the dye just poured on. I should have squeezed it some, to get the dye to penetrate into the ball.

My dye prints and painting drying on the line and on the bushes.

A large queen size sheet from Marnie, that we hung on the fence and splashed leftover dye onto it. We smeared it dripped it, sprayed and made hand prints, we sprayed it with water to make the dyes bleed too.

Some of the dyed fabric I made in a 3 layer "parfait" technique, the sets of 3, on the left, top and bottom, were all in separate dye pots together as a 3 layer batch.

Peggy and I got to have a second visit with Vera, she called and said she had a lot of dye concentrate left and would we like to come down. Several of our pieces needed to be redone or layered with additional dye printing, the colors had washed out, probably cause I did not pretreat with soda ash. Also they just needed "More" color, texture, etc.. they just looked unfinished. So we spent the day adding extra layers of color to pieces we had already worked on, the difference was astounding, a lot of depth and texture created a more unified piece, more interesting to look at, with good color contrast, sometimes we just added highlights or contrasting color to give it "Pop." I could really see the difference that adding more layers made in the pieces, it was worth the extra work! I think I really like the pieces that are more textural, the ones with large prints are difficult for me to work with. I don't know what to use them in or how to cut them up. They are fun to make, but now what to do? An all over pattern or texture is easier for me to envision in something, large abstracts are not my thing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fabric Dyeing Workshop 2011 part I

Our group "Fyber Cafe" spent two days dyeing fabric at Vera's, Fun! FUN! FUN! 8 of us gathered, set up tables, mixed dye concentrate and soda ash water. We "did our own thing" mostly dye painting with thickened dyes. Vera had taken a class with national teacher Ann Johnston in Lake Oswego, Oregon, at her home studio. It was a 5 day class, in painting, printing, resists, transparency of dyes, and color interaction. She tried to help us understand some of the principles, but I think we just had to play with the dyes ourselves. Her process involved drying between paint layers and adding additional layers of color, we were too impatient for that. We had to/wanted to, paint several colors, wet on wet, her process was rather controlled and slower on dry fabric. Several of us did manage to create layers of color and texture, we used foam stamps, and different plastic mesh, stencils, and kitchen tools to print patterns.